And the Trophy of NationS
(1) 13.8 Billion years ago:
The big bang, kinda like the first Trophy of Nations but without the pizza and the castles. Also is it the first big bang? Or just one of many? How am I not myself? You get it.
(2) 6-ish thousand years ago:
A God does a thing and wow monkeys and dinosaurs live in harmony until someone decides to expand her consciousness. We call this Big Bang 2, The Fall. The plus? Here come the castles!
(3) 100 plus-ish years ago:
Pedal bicycles. Big Bang 3, Riding from the Ashes. Yes. If our wide-ranging endurance having species is going to go full cyborg than its hard to argue for a better mechanical symbiote than the bicycle.
(4) 40 plus years ago:
Wow 40 years! The “mountain bike” evolves. Seeing that hiking will quickly become obsolete reactionary forces move to outlaw these fun machines from most trails.
(5) 10-ish years ago:
Droppers are the new drug, front derailleurs die a slow death and things everywhere get more slack.
(6) A year-ish ago:
The Trophy of Nations is announced. It will take place in Finale Ligure. There will be pizza on stage. Also good trails, the ocean, castles, yadda, and yadda.
(7) 8-ish months to BRD - (Before Race Day):
Kyle writes an article about The Trophy of Nations for The Radavist. Most of the information checks out.
(8) 7.8 months BRD:
Kyle get’s Dylan on the horn about putting a team together to race. Dylan says he’s going to look into it.
(9) 7.7months - 4.1 months:
Kyle does some mild harassment with the hope that unflagging enthusiasm will win Dylan over.
(10) 4 months BRD:
Three cheers for unflagging enthusiasm, alias the unrelenting positivity assault that grinds down any mental opposition. Think Bill Murray’s character from “What about Bob.” We have Team approval. Georgia is added to the gang. We’ll meet her the day before race day. Talk about trust.
(11) 2 months BRD:
We pick a team name. Tourist. It's cool. We get necklaces made.
(12) 3 days BRD:
Georgia arrives in Finale Ligure to meet Kyle and team manager Lucy, who is also consigned to life with Kyle.
(13) 2 days BRD:
Georgia and Kyle take their medical exam in Finale. Kyle gets a thumbs up in regards to his health. Georgia reports no enthusiastic hand signals. Nearing midnight Dylan arrives in Finale. We needed micro spline drivers for our wheels or else the gears would throw a fit. This being a last minute add Dylan had to forestall his flight to the last possible moment. He had them in a suitcase handcuffed to his wrist. Somehow all three bikes made the three connecting flights to get spit out into the Genoa airport where...
(14) 1 day BRD:
. Georgia pre-rides the course with the Specialized World Enduro Team. Turns out they’re fast. Upon review Georgia doesn’t seem too terrified. Lucy, Dylan, and Kyle drive to Savona so that Dylan can pass his medical exam. We have time to kill so we eat focaccia pizza bread in the square and watch the teenagers smoke. Later that day we build our bikes and make sure the brakes work. They do.
(15) Race Day Stage 1:
. We’re one of the last teams to race maybe there is one or two behind us meaning we had a very casual start. The stage starts in the thick of a damp fog but we’re quickly into clear air as the track drops, cutting back and forth in sharp decline. People are lining the course. They’re cheering. For us. Wow. At the end of the stage we run into a British group we met at the Finale medical check. They’re having a picnic but it looks like a yard sale. There is so much more riding to come. It's possible that they’re still racing.
(16) Race Day Stage 2:
Feels like an extension of Stage 1 but a little shorter and with a bit more rock, to be honest, this one is a bit of a blur. Likely from the wine.
(17) Race Day Stage 3:
. This was a really awkward and tricky dude, all sorts of funky drops and changes, in this reporter's opinion it is the day’s most difficult stage. I distinctly remember doing more than one “oh shit, just send it” moves that worked in so much as I didn’t crash.
(18) Race Day Stage 4:
Rock. Stone. Hard Places! This little honey is what I would imagine it would feel like to compete in a jackhammer rodeo, “here we have wild unbroken jackhammers corralled from the range.” Like a Gary Larson cartoon. Can you see it? Walk with me here, people. If the reference is to abstruse let’s leave it at “it was hard to hang on.” But we do. We liase’d down a wonderful hill into town and lunch.
(19) RACE DAY LUNCH:
We didn’t read all the materials as such and we missed the lunch stop which was we found out later was on the beach. As a result we ordered grilled cheeses, hot dogs and beer at a little corner cafe joint. The beer was the right thing to do, not so much the hotdogs. Were we having a great time? Yes. Yes, we were.
(20) Race Day Stage 5:
Dylan and I rode this one while checking our brakes out. Part of it traces the bottom of a creek bed, it's a little greasy the traction insecure but at this point we’re getting the sense that our bikes are essentially DH bikes so we just point them downhill and they go. Truly wonderful machines.
(21) Race Day Stage 6:
This is the iconic course that plummets down to the beach with the castle view and all that. It’s steep and rocky but short and there are definitely a few lines to hit that help you keep your speed up. I managed to miss most of them but the crowd didn’t seem to notice. Maybe they were drunk on grappa?
(22) Race Day Finish:
We ride along the coast. At one point Dylan goes full ‘time trial’ and drops Kyle and Georgia. Our tires are so loud he doesn’t hear our calls for mercy. Eventually we make it back to town, enjoy some beers in the square, make our way to the beach and have a swim. Famous YouTube Dirt Jump personality Matt Jones shows up, Georgia knows him, she knows everyone and he needs a back protector for his race on Sunday. “Take mine.” Kyle (me) is happy to be rid of it, one less thing to bring back home. Now I have a famous back protector.
(23) Race Day Post Race:
For dinner we eat at a restaurant with a wine plant roof. We just out Italianed all of you.
(24) Pro Race Day:
Along with the rest of Italy we climbed up the side of the hill and watched the really really really fast pros rip down the hill. Very cool stuff. Georgia got really loaded at the after party, like 22-year old loaded. And even though she booted many many times through the course of the night she summoned her 22 year old brain and body plasticity to ride with us on...
(25) Post Race Ride Day:
We needed more pictures and we came all this way so we hired a local and he took us around to some more trails. One of which started at an old American Military base. If you were going to get stationed at a base this would be a good one. Also I don’t think you’d be asked to deal with too much Operation Gladio if you were stationed here (If this is in print punch Operation Gladio into your nearest internet machine and enjoy -- if this is on the web then please allow us to hyperlink you.) 3-
(26) 5 months PRD (Post Race Day):
It’s too dark in the Northern Hemisphere. This whole thing is getting made. Dylan is dealing with a few cold burritos, Georgia is trying to keep her dad from parting out her enduro and I (kyle) am hugging my happy lamp as the dark dreary Portland winter begins its assault.
(27) 1 year PRD:
Bernie Sanders is elected. America adopts Universal Healthcare and the Green New Deal. We tax all the obscenely rich folks and support all the underserved and underprivileged. Also this story goes on the net
(28) 2 year PRD:
Hikers and bikers come together in harmony and agree on a universal pact allowing mountain biking on a number of trails all the while agreeing on those that they should stay off of in order to sustain and grow wildlife and wild habitat areas.
(29) 4 year PRD:
Having decided the we’ve come to a place of global transcendence a bitch group of Aliens stop observing us and comes to earth as friends. They love mountain biking and pizza. But they love all the good shit.
(30) 4.1- Infinity PRD:
Things only get better. Like Pizza everyday, all the sleep you can handle but you never get tired, that kinda thing.